Launching an application is often just the first step to success. No matter how well thought out at the drawing board or evaluated and fine-tuned with intended users, it is often only the beginning of a successful mobile application. Many new factors often arise after the initial launch. Users have new wishes, the business is engaged in further optimizing the targets and the usage figures provide new insights. Carefully following-up on these factors can turn a good start into a truly successful app, which is widely supported by users and business stakeholders. Let's look at an example.
We have developed the Mobile Service Assistent (MSA) for Pon Automotive, which aims to offer incoming customers to car dealers a whole new level of service. Traditionally, service advisors used to serve customers from behind a wall of screens running a plethora of tools. The goal of the MSA was to remove this wall of screens and offer an elegant interface that stimulates customer contact, instead of blocking it. This meant that complex systems had to be reduced to a pragmatic and flexible solution. It also turned out that the perception of quality of an automotive dealership to its customers greatly improves when, during first customer contact, a complete summary of the vehicle status is already captured in a work order, which is the guiding document for all subsequent steps in the service process.
The MSA app was born from this wish. While having a good start, the solution grew into a successful business application last year. You can read how we achieved this below.
How we made the application more effective
We spoke to dozens of dealer organizations, each having its own working process. We analyzed conversations and tried to understand why these differences existed and what values they delivered for the organization. This required a lot of explorations, considerations and iterative research, which resulted in an application that the target audience now loves and wants to use. Below the 5 steps we took to achieve this.
- Research your target audience: The first step we have taken is to analyze the wishes of users in their work environment. We identified the bottlenecks by means of interviews, observing the workplace and doing surveys. The focus was not on the app, but on the daily interactions between the dealership employees and their customers. By understanding the challenges of both user groups, we got a better idea of possible solutions. This resulted in a wish list for both user groups, the communication between the two, and the follow-up during the service process.
- Validate new ideas: Now that we have an idea of the wishes in communication, follow-up and reporting between the dealership and it’s customers, we united these wishes in various proposals using sketches and prototypes. As many people only form an opinion about a solution when they can look at it, it is important to validate and refine the ideas in time. In this iterative process, the business can also add focus on specific topics like customer satisfaction or process optimisations. When we receive enough positive feedback from the different user groups, we move on to the next step. We also shared beta versions of the application with employees to keep them involved during the development process.
- Start small and iterate: During development it is important to start small with clear objectives and to continue developing iteratively. By regularly releasing, we were able to unlock business value earlier and speed up the adoption of the updated application, resulting in qualitative and quantitative feedback. This gives the business the opportunity to constantly make adjustments in the pursuit of their goals
- Monitor user behavior: Another essential element during development is monitoring how people react to new features. By analysing anonymous data in the app and backend we monitor how users move through the application, but it also shows if KPIs are being achieved. To increase the visibility of this data in organizations, we developed a dashboard on which real-time information is visible at a glance for stakeholders to view. In addition, it is important to give users a channel to express themselves. We made the giving feedback option important in the application to encourage users to provide feedback on the latest developments.
- (re) activate users: The success of a (B2B) mobile application is not only determined by the application itself, but also by the way it is rolled out. Because this application is for internal use, internal channels were used to announce new releases. Interviews and data analyses also showed that many users used very outdated versions as a reference for their opinion about the application. Because the application has been in use for years, numerous optimizations have been made that many users have not seen. For this reason, we created an overview of all invited users who did not log in recently. We shared an extensive activation email with the user group to explain the improvements and benefits of the latest version and invited them to try the application again.
With the above methods, we have been able to achieve the following results in a period of 1 year:
- 380% growth in weekly active use
- 300% growth in number of releases per year
- 250% growth on KPI
This application is a good example of a mobile solution in which the application was designed by the business, while not sufficiently involving the target audience. It’s a great example of how user research is not only important in the development of new solutions, but also offers value for existing products you want to improve. Including research and validation in your way of working can prevent development budgets from ending in a disinvestment. By conducting extensive research and adjusting the way of working, costs have been saved while the effectiveness has been drastically increased in this application that has been running for years.
Are you having trouble achieving the objectives of your mobile application? Contact us today and let us help you.